Saturday night, 9pm, Leftfield stage. Post- punk indie gobshites Yard Act are on stage, gobbling up change from the front rows and looking like the first four days have been well spent at Shangri-la. Frontman James Smith — joggers on, big parka, and sunglasses, bobbing on more than just life — makes a quip about how Glastonbury is like nowhere else on the planet, before pointing out that from his position onstage he can see an EE charging tent, wine stall, and vape stall. So just like everywhere else, yeah? He does note that the vegan taco stalls are “quite contemporary”.

It’s my first Glastonbury. The last dance of my thirties. It’s a war of attrition: the two hour queue from car park to gate, followed by the forty minute walk to the camp site. The setting up of tents, close enough to the right loos not to shit yourself on a comedown, far enough to not have the smell of warm piss lodge in the hair. Five days of drinking and walking 15 miles from dawn til dawn and dancing, all set to whatever soundtrack you personally like. I’m not saying you need drugs to get through Glastonbury, but that’s exactly what I’m saying.

There are a lot of drugs at Glastonbury. If this goes on at a more working class festival the press would have a field day, yet here, because of the middle class kids on their twelve year gap year and the hippy talk of chakras, it’s the norm. The smell of weed permeates the air in every field, whilst the group in the tents behind us talk of “floor drugs”, as if some code might stop the grey-haired fat guy in the next tent asking for some. There’s people doing bumps of white powders at almost every show; coke or ket, whilst Shangra La and Block 9 are for pills, acid, and mdma. Lots of rolling eyes and backward leans, always with friends on hand to see them through it together. I saw only one person getting carried away in a bad state, whilst one lady on a mushroom trip decided to lay down and let twenty thousand people walk around her post gig.

There is a looseness to it all. You lose your friends, you find other friends or new friends. You share bottles and cans and keys and memories. There is no schedule at Glastonbury. You get lost in the vastness of it all. The louche qualities of the healing fields, or the green fields with the power yoga and skate parks. Whilst queuing for a shower in the latter there is a hippy talking loudly about how money is the death of the world with a scouser trying to haggle for a earlier shower time ticket. The juxtapositions are everywhere.

The best bits are on the peripherals. The craft field, or the cabaret, and the theatre with the ad hoc performances in the sunshine, the conga lines, or bubble machines. The stone circle; a spider web of smellies still trying to find themselves and the last bastion for raves well into the morning. Linger around there at midnight and you’ll see torches trying to find the secret underground jazz bar. I found it. Might have been sat next to a very ketty actor from Harry Potter. Same for the much revered rabbit hole bars. The bar is at the front, the secret venue back left, the VIP bar back right. They have a hot tub in the VIP bar where girls and gays were getting in stark bollock naked. The south east corner is a full on affair of raves with possibly the worst smelling toilets in the world. I would consider shitting yourself if it wasn’t an hour away from anywhere else. Maybe half an hour if speed is your thing.

I suppose I should mention the food. It’s mostly woeful. Glastonbury, for all its socialist tendencies, is a mass catering circus. Some of the worst things I’ve ever eaten were over that five days; greasy curries, or buy-in Yorkshire puddings filled notionally with Sunday roast items. Nothing has salt. Fifteen-quid-a-pop. I ate substance for no other reason than survival; mediocre burritos or pie and mash from Pietantic; probably the best thing I ate all festival. I should thank Pietantic for babysitting me one night when I found myself wondering by the stone circle one night and bumped into them all.

Three-hundred-thousand in a field and yet next to no dickheads. You don’t need your inner hippy but it helps. What you do need is an open mind, an acceptance of all walks of life and a good pair of trainers. You need to appreciate that the best place to watch the music is via the BBC when you get home, and that however uncommercial they pretend it to be, the only choice of lager is Carlsberg at six quid a pint. The last night, drained and in the early stages of a nasty bug, I put one last push into the frivolities after Kendrick Lamar. Warm cider in hand I pass the vape store and the EE tent, heading out to the one way system of the south east corner. There the staff of Glastonbury have positioned themselves, giving out high-fives and shouting encouragement. They mean it. Glastonbury, there really is nowhere else like it on the planet.